How many years of experience do you have with dogs? I have owned a dog for seven years.
How did you find out about Pooch Pals? My school’s career page had a listing. I wanted a fun job where I could do things, see people, play with dogs… I love dogs, so getting to spend my day with them is great.
What’s your favorite part about the job? All of the dogs have their own personalities, so getting to know them and their quirks is my favorite part. Being around them, being outside, and being able to walk around instead of sitting at a desk inside is so much better. We have fun clients, and this is a fun job.
What is your favorite memory working with Pooch Pals? It is probably with my first client. He is a very territorial dog, so I worked with the owners and our partner Kate Perry with multiple training sessions. When I first walked him on my own, he was jumping up and down, excited to see me, rather than trying to bite at my ankles. Seeing that procession from a dog that was hard to handle to a dog I love to see every day is really rewarding. You feel like you did a good thing for both the dog and the client.
Tell me a little bit about your day-to-day routine? I only do two walks at the moment, and they are both in SoHo, which is really relaxed because I can come straight from school (NYU). I am also trying to cover a bunch of dogs right now. I love getting those random throw in days that you get to see a different dog, and you get to know the dogs that you’ve never walked before.
What is the process of getting to know your clients? We did one “meet and greet”, where you get to know the clients, get to know the dogs, establish a relationship and give them an opportunity to build trust with you. From then on, I email or text with my clients at least once a day after each and every walk. I let them know that I care by constantly keeping my clients up to date on the ongoings of their furry kids. There is not a huge amount of in-person interaction, however every interaction counts. Our clients are trusting us not only to safeguard their home but care for their pet too. It is a big responsibility that I do not take lightly.
What do you think is a suitable personality for this job? I think you need to be patient and caring. These dogs have their own personalities, and if they do something you don’t want them to do, you have to respond to that with the right attitude. You don’t want to get frustrated easily. You also have to love dogs!
Do you have any dog training advice to share? I would suggest pet owners not listen to music and/or talk on the phone when they are walking their dog. I’ve realized that when you have 100% of your attention on your dog, you actually create a real experience with them. I feel like if you own a dog, only to walk your dog and be on your phone, then you are not getting that bonding time outside let alone the lack of attention required on these busy city streets.
What is you love about working with dogs? They are really fun. You forget that they are really smart and they know how to play you to get what they want. They have got a brain and they know how to use that, I love the challenge.
What are your career aspirations? I want to continue walking dogs throughout college at least, but then onwards, I want to go into psychology. I have been considering some pet therapy stuff at one point, but we just have to see where life takes me after college, graduate school, and all of that.
A Friend For Life, click to read previous installments.